What to do? Boris Johnson Chairs Emergency Response Meet Over World Travel Ban on Britain

Published December 21st, 2020 - 07:33 GMT
An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration in Liverpool on December 20, 2020, shows front page headlines reporting on the story of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson introducing new tougher coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions for London and the South East of England, cancelling Christmas gatherings for those in the new 'tier 4' category. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a "stay at home" order for London and southeast England to slow a new coronavirus st
An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration in Liverpool on December 20, 2020, shows front page headlines reporting on the story of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson introducing new tougher coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions for London and the South East of England, cancelling Christmas gatherings for those in the new 'tier 4' category. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a "stay at home" order for London and southeast England to slow a new coronavirus strain that is significantly more infectious. He ordered new restrictions for London and south-eastern England from Sunday, saying that "residents in those areas must stay at home" at least until December 30. The measures will mean around a third of England's population cannot travel or meet other households for Christmas. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Highlights
Despite growing concerns about the new strain, EU experts believe it will not impact the effectiveness of existing vaccines, Germany's health minister said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel, in particular the flow of freight in and out of Britain, a spokeswoman for his office said.

On Sunday, a slew of nations from Sweden to Turkey blocked arrivals from Britain by air and crucial transit country France moved to block people and goods crossing the Channel.

"The prime minister will chair a COBR (emergency response) meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation regarding international travel, in particular the steady flow of freight into and out of the UK. Further meetings are happening this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure robust plans are in place," the spokeswoman said.

A German government source said restrictions on air travel from Britain could be adopted by the entire 27-member EU and that countries were also discussing a joint response over sea, road and rail links.

Despite growing concerns about the new strain, EU experts believe it will not impact the effectiveness of existing vaccines, Germany's health minister said.

"According to everything we know so far" the new strain "has no impact on the vaccines", which remain "just as effective", Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ZDF.

The assessment was shared by Britain's chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

Caution over travels to southern ports 

France said it would bar all people coming from the UK for 48 hours from Sunday night, including freight carriers, whether by road, air, sea or rail. Britain's port of Dover said its ferry terminal was closed.

Transport minister Grant Shapps urged Britons, especially hauliers, not to travel to ports in Kent in southern England, warning on Twitter that "we expect significant disruption in the area".

"Following the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48hrs, we're asking the public and particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France," Shapps said on Twitter.

The travel restrictions come at a difficult time for many British companies, which are engaged in last-minute stockpiling before December 31, when a status quo transition period with the European Union ends and new customs rules come into effect.

Doug Bannister, chief executive at the port of Dover, told Reuters earlier this month that Europe's biggest trucking port was already seeing almost record volumes of trade.

This article has been adapted from its original source.     


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